Citation and Authority in Medieval and Renaissance Musical Culture: Learning from the Learned

(Ed. with Suzannah Clark)
Citation and Authority in Medieval and Renaissance Musical Culture: Learning from the Learned.
Essays in Honour of Margaret Bent
Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell and Brewer, 2005.

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Book description

The chapters of this book probe the varied functions of citation and allusion in medieval and renaissance musical culture. At its most fundamental level musical culture relied on shared models for musical practice, used by singers and composers as they learned their craft. Several contributors to this volume investigate general models, which often drew on earlier musical works, internalized in the process of composers’ own training as singers. In written theoretical musical pedagogy, conversely, citation of authority is deliberate and intentional. The adaptation of accepted wisdom in theoretical treatises was the means by which newer authors stamped their own authority. Further kinds of citation occur in specific musical texts, either within the words set to music or in the music itself. The diverse functions of citation and allusion for the creator, reader, scribe, performer and listener are here given due consideration. In doing so, this volume is a fitting tribute to Margaret Bent, whose pedagogy, publications, and presence are honoured in this Festschrift.


Susan Rankin, Gilles Rico, Christian Thomas Leitmeir, Barbara Haggh, Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Andrew Wathey, Kevin Brownlee, Alice V. Clark, Lawrence M. Earp, Virginia Newes, John Milsom, David Howlett, Reinhard Strohm, Theodor Dumitrescu, Cristle Collins Judd, Bonnie J. Blackburn


JASON STOESSEL, NOTES, 63 (2007), 590-3.

For the fact that this volume encourages one to examine the epistemological bases of our knowledge and for its sheer plenitude of bold interpretation, it is recommended reading for scholars and students of old music and music theory.


…this is an outstanding volume…an informative, provocative study of a seminal topic in Medieval and Renaissance compositional practice and analysis.


Overall, the volume is well produced. The essays are all of high quality, succinct, and well written. …The editors are to be commended for… a timely and focused collection of essays that so greatly honors its dedicatee within the sixty-fifth year of her birth. It is a fine volume and a fitting tribute to one of the most influential musicologists and teachers of our time.

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